Derby Evening Press/Issue 09
The Battle of Midway
For the first time ever, the Eastern Federation has launched an offensive against a hostile force. Until now, the EF has always been on the defensive, either protecting the people of Derby or assisting its allies in defending their homes.
All that has changed now, as Federation forces have begun a fierce battle on the island between Derby and York. The island, called Midway by its discoverer and Ry'leh by the Eastern Federation, is a recent addition to Shartak's geography, having risen from the sea during a recent earthquake. After finding the island held little of interest, most Shartak groups abandoned it.
That abandonment made the island a tempting target for Shartak's most fearsome menace: The WickSick Headhunters. The source of more chaos and destruction than any other group on Shartak, the headhunters ravaged the entire south coast this winter and spring in their First Annual Winter Games. Their games complete, the headhunters converged on the island to hold one of their enigmatic rituals.
The result was the largest concentration of Headhunters since the foundation of the Eastern Federation. The Eastern Federation learned of the gathering and summoned forces from Derby, reinforced by the Derby Rangers returning from York. The York Coalition, eager to repay Derby for its aid while simultaneously striking back at the headhunters, entered the fray as well. Also joining in were the Spartans, a small but increasingly active group in outsider politics. The result was a climatic showdown as outsider civilization's greatest defenders faced off against its most formidable opponents.
The climax of the conflict came just a day before this article went to press. While the Derby forces endured the brunt of the Wicksick counterassault, the York Coalition and the Spartans moved in. In an amazing display of coordination, the two clans virtually wiped out the WickSick forces on the island. York and Derby forces have now begun searching the surrounding ocean for headhunters while setting up their own defenses.
Derby Hospitallers' Tribune gave full credit to Derby's allies for the final assault, applauding the bravery and skill of both the York Coalition and the Spartans. He cautioned, however, that he did not want to diminish the selfless courage of the Derbians who suffered the WickSicks' wrath in the early action. Barnes said the operation was a sterling example of what outsiders were capable of when they worked together for the common good.
The WickSick Headhunters are reportedly furious at the assault. Apparently ignoring the numerous times they have conducted attacks on outsider towns, the headhunters are vowing revenge against Derby. They claim that their sacred ritual grounds have been violated and are currently debating exactly how to carry out their revenge. It is unclear if the headhunters will attempt to first reclaim their island or if vengeance will take priority over reclaiming what they lost.
Eastern Federation Expands
The Eastern Federation recently became the largest clan on Shartak. The reason? The Eastern Federation has gained a new member: the Octavius Popesbury Memorial Expedition. Though there were some initial tensions, the Federation quickly worked out its disagreements with the Expedition. That opened the way to the Expedition's entry into Federation membership. Though the Expedition's members are largely new to Shartak, the Eastern Federation seems unperturbed by this, happy to help newcomers enter into Shartak society.
Derby Insurgency Begins
The Derby Protectors, a group objecting to the Eastern Federation's policies, was mentioned briefly in our last issue. The Derby Protectors, according to both their leader and their official statements, oppose certain policies implemented by the Eastern Federation.
Chief among those policies are the Eastern Federation's tolerant attitude towards peaceful natives and pirates. Adopting a more isolationist tone, the Protectors advocate the complete expulsion of both groups from Derby.
The Protectors also object to the continued presence of Rob Zombie as chief of Derby's police force. Rob Zombie, as reported by this paper, was accused of the murder of one Lutheran some time ago. Zombie was subsequently convicted by the Derby Court and ordered to carry out community service. Lines opposes such a light sentence, calling for Zombie to be removed from office.
When asked why Zombie was not punished more severely, the prosecutor in Zombie's case, Derby Hospitallers' Tribune James Barnes, responded that Zombie's extensive record of public service was taken into account. He also added, "It's not like Lutheran stayed dead."
Attacks on EF forces
Moving quickly after their foundation, the Derby Protectors have begun their assault on Federation positions in Derby. Two Derby Protectors assaulted and killed Hospitaller James Barnes, who was attending to his duties as chief surgeon at the Derby Hospital.
The bulk of the Eastern Federation's strength is away from Derby at this time. The Derby Rangers departed Derby to assist in the defense of York against a pirate raid. Upon receiving intelligence of a massive gathering of the WickSick Headhunters on the small island to Derby's west, the Rangers, reinforced by elements from the Privateers, launched an assault on the WickSick gathering, reasoning that the best defense was a good offense.
While the Federation's thinking makes tactical sense, it has left Derby without its primary defenders. As a result, Derby is understaffed. The only Federation outposts remaining active are the Hospitallers' humanitarian endeavors, the Derby Academy and the Derby Hospital. Staffed by the more defensively-minded Hospitallers, these institutions have made tempting targets for the attacks on Federation forces.
When asked about the Federation's newest member, the Octavius Popesbury Memorial Expedition, James Barnes responded that he had not requested their assistance yet. "While I wouldn't say 'no' if they offered, their membership in the Eastern Federation is still young. This isn't their fight. I don't want them drawn in unwillingly." Noble sentiments perhaps, but it remains to be seen what price the Protectors will extract for the Federation's altruism.
Interview with Simon
Javier: Ladies and gentlemen, I have here Simon, discoverer of Shartak; although not necessarily one of its most prominent or visible citizens, he's certainly something of a legend among us. Simon, we've noticed you in Derby a few times. However, most of the time you seem to be elsewhere. When you aren't in your hometown, where are you?
Simon: It depends. There are times when I just fall asleep under a tree in the middle of the jungle and don't wake up for days. Sometimes this is because someone's killed me while I slept but more often it's simply because trekking across the island is hard work and tires me out.
Just recently I'd made my way across from Derby to York and was standing around in the trading post in York, chatting with Trader Harry and figuring out how to make these bottles of mango juice that some clever person came up with. Right now I'm near the northern edge of the island because some murderous soldier crashed in through the door of the trading post and shot me at point blank range.
Doing that magical thing with the shamans, I woke at the nearest roaming shaman and found I was miles from where I wanted to be. I suspect those shamans have had a meeting in that area as they all seem to be up there!
Javier: I'd imagine that people kill you a fair deal, not for the experience so much as for the sake of being able to say that they killed Simon. (That course of action was certainly bandied about when you visited Derby.) And Shartak certainly abounds with revenge killings. When you're killed, how do you tend to react?
Simon: Assuming there's no legitimate reason for it (and there rarely is), make a note of the killer's name so I can get them back if I happen to run into them again in the future. Then I do the same as everyone else and contact either the Derby shaman or a roaming shaman for assistance.
Javier: Moving on... the last time you visited Derby for any length of time, you caused quite a stir. I'll ask you about a few specific incidents in a moment, but first, what do you think of what we've done with the place?
Simon: I must admit, the only time I see the inside of any of the huts is when I get lost trying to find the trading post or med hut. The camp itself seems pretty clean and tidy. Not like that York place... I was there a couple of days ago and there were signs saying WILLIES! all over the place!
Javier: I'm curious-what are your thoughts on the situation in York? The collapse and reformation of the CP, the founding of the York Coalition, Serious Sam's leaving the Coalition, and the recent pirate raid. Be as brief or long-winded as you want.
Simon: I've never really been into politics. Obviously I read the Derby Evening Press to find out what's been going on, but beyond that I generally pay very little attention. As long as I can wander about the island without getting attacked just for setting foot in York (or any other camp) then that's good enough for me.
Javier: Fair enough. When (if) you go to the native towns, do they usually respect you as Simon and leave you alone, or off you like they would any outsider?
Simon: That depends entirely on the native. Usually I get killed just the same as anyone else, although there have been a few occasions when I've been trading and managed to stay alive for a couple days in the trading hut. Once I bumped into Lama of the Wicksick Headhunters out in the jungle and lived to tell the tale without even a scratch.
Javier: I think I'm nearly out of questions. Before I wrap up, is there anything that you wanted me to ask that I haven't yet?
Simon: Umm, not that I can think of.
Javier: You're no fun. So, if you can leave our readers with only one message, what would it be?
Simon: Don't look now but I think you're being watched by a native carrying a machete and a severed head!
No wait! That's not the message.
Treat your neighbors as you would want to be treated. Chop 'em to bits as often as possible! *cough* I mean, err, heal them and be healed?
Javier: Thank you very much, Simon. The question about the heavy sword taken aside, you've been wonderful.
Interview: Arthur Lines
- Mr. Lines, thank you for interviewing with us. The people of Shartak thank you. First, let me ask, what caused your prolonged enmity towards the Eastern Federation?
- The origins lie with that serial-killer, RobZombie. I was a radical environmentalist in my youth, and that admittedly caused controversy. I attacked people from using the roads, for they were playing their part in the destruction of this beautiful island! A select few were taken beyond a warning, most notably the notorious James Milligan, and were killed as an example to all. They deserved to die for what they did to the forests, yet RobZombie confronted me about it. Without giving me a chance to answer for my actions, he cut me down, and for a few months I did nothing more. However, I awoke from my slumber, and vowed to avenge myself. I cut down RobZombie and a number of his lackeys. That was the extent of my little war - solely the 1st Derby Privateers. It was only when the Derby Hospitallers joined the conflict against me that I truly realized the extent of the corruption in the Eastern Federation! I could not rest - something had to be done. If I sat back and watched my hometown slip irretrievably into the grasp of the Federation, I would not be able to look myself in the face again. What would I say to Maggie? Thus I took up my machete for the good of Derby.
- What are your specific objections to Eastern Federation policies?
- There are too many to list. The evidence is there for all to see, if they but look. One example - the leader of one of the militant factions: RobZombie. A confessed murderer, a convicted murderer, leading the police force of the Federation. A man who admitted his empathy with the infamous Mercenary's Guild. It is this shameful disregard of a man's mentality which proves to the island that murderers, butcherers, killers run our beloved town! And the Eastern Federation knows it, and is proud of it!
- They try him for the religious hate-incited murder of Lutheran in their Derby Court. They find him guilty, and his punishment? To spend a couple of days confined to the hospital. That is all! What do they give Lord Jones, Protector of Derby, for ridding the town of its plague of natives? Permanent Kill-On-Sight. Is that justice? No! So what has happened to the case of RobZombie, since then? It has been proudly presented as a show of Derbian justice! The Federation is proud that a criminal heads its police force! They have a convict at its head, so it must be open-minded, they say. Why not let Keiichi govern Derby? That would be open-minded, or Petey the pirate? I could go on and on, but there is only so many tears a man can shed for the future of Derby and any one time.
- Why have you refused to enter into negotiations with the Eastern Federation?
- I have not been approached in any way whatsoever except with the intent to kill me. How can I have any willingness at all to negotiate? However, the fair man that I am, I am still prepared to negotiate. Had the Eastern Federation approached me peacefully, I would have happily present my terms to them:
- 1) That Robzombie is permanently exiled and sent back to the pirate ship, where all Privateers belong.
- 2) That the 1st Derby Privateers are disbanded, for they are nothing but pirates with a fancier name. A citizen militia will replace its role as the police force of Derby.
- 3) That pirates and natives are purged from Derby. They have no place here.
- 4) That all citizens of Derby learn Trekking as soon as possible.
- 5) That a statue to Maggie, and one to Marco, is erected.
- Would you ever be willing to make peace with the Federation?
- Once my terms were met, I would yes. I believe they would remove the negative aspects of the Federation. I am a reasonable man.
- If your Derby Protectors win their war against the Eastern Federation, what kind of town do you envision Derby being?
- A free Derby! A Derby where the locals can roam free within the confines of the town without fear of the Eastern Federation and its lackeys. I see a town which refuses to allow those accursed pirates and savage indigenous things into its midst. A town overgrown with greenery - the island's first truly environmentally-friendly town!
York Attack Ends
In our last issue, we reported that pirates were beginning yet another attack on York. In response, people from across the south coast came to defend York from the invasion, with representatives from the Spartans, the Eastern Federation, and the Durham Pistoleers coming to assist the York Coalition and the Colonial Police in York's defense.
In the end, the invasion was more whimper than roar. The defenders kept a close watch on the jungle surrounding York, but attackers were hard to find. Perhaps the battle (or lack thereof) is less significant than the increasing ties between the outsider towns. We are encouraged by the solidarity shown by the outsiders in the face of an unknown threat. We hope this is a sign of the end of divisions along the south coast.